Russia Avoids Possible Catastrophe As New Space Station Module Finally Reaches Right Orbit – .

Russia Avoids Possible Catastrophe As New Space Station Module Finally Reaches Right Orbit – .

Nauka launches on top of a Proton-M rocket.

Nauka launches on top of a Proton-M rocket.
Image: Roscosmos

The Russian space station’s new module, dubbed Nauka, is currently en route to the ISS, but the spacecraft initially failed to complete its first orbit elevation combustion, raising concerns that it cannot complete the trip. Fortunately, the Nauka team on Earth was able to make a heading correction, and the module is now in the correct orbit to continue its journey.

Nauka, it seems, takes his bad luck with him into space.

The Russian multipurpose lab, as it’s officially known, has been in the works since the late 1990s, and it was supposed to launch in 2007, but a series of technical issues -om dirty fuel tanks to aging components – have prevented that it happens. . Two components of the module, the airlock and a radiator, were launched to the ISS 11 years ago, where they have been waiting ever since.

the the big day finally arrived yesterday when Nauka, with the new European robotic arm, spear from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on top of a Proton-M rocket. The launch appeared to be going well, with the 43,300-pound module reaching orbit and completing all three stages of separation. The module is expected to arrive at the International Space Station on July 29, when it will dock at port nadir of the Russian Zvezda module.

Earlier today, the entire mission seemed in jeopardy as reports has emerged a problem with its on-board computer that prevented the use of its main engines to complete its first combustion engine from orbit. Nauka needs these engines to make course corrections that will bring it to the ISS and prevent it from falling into Earth’s atmosphere. At 3:10 p.m. EDT on July 22, however, Roscosmos tweeted that the Nauka propulsion system firing test and orbit correction burn were nominal. Nauka, it seems, is back on track.

However, the undocking of the Pirs mooring compartment was moved from this Friday July 23 to Saturday July 24 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Pirs currently occupies Nauka’s eventual docking location, and it will only be removed once Nauka is confirmed to be satisfactorily en route to the ISS.

In an email, Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said “a software error caused a problem in the main engines”, rendering them unusable for a period of time. The initial burn, he said, would have to be done with “smaller backup engines.” It is not yet known whether Roscosmos used the main thrusters or the back-up system.

Today’s problem with the main thrusters is apparently not the only problem the mission is currently facing. Like SpaceNews reports, these issues include “the inability to confirm that an antenna and docking target have deployed as intended, as well as issues with infrared sensors and thrusters.” It is not “immediately clear how serious the problems were and whether they would affect the docking plans,” according to SpaceNews.

Any issue that would prevent the successful docking of the Nauka module with the ISS would obviously be a blow to the Russian space station program, which has struggled in recent times with aging infrastructure and the United States. sanctions against its space industry.


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